My Maton FyrByrd is better than your guitar.

My junk shop sharkbite FyrByrd is back in action, thanks to Tym Guitars!

About a year ago, I posted a story on a beautifully weathered Maton FyrByrd that my friend Marty had found in a junk shop somewhere in the Blue Mountains. (read it here.) She was mostly complete, but had a few issues. The electronics looked a bit suspect, some tuners were missing or bent and the neck had an evil twist… a common Maton fault on 60’s electrics due to the neck wood not being dried enough. After months and trying to correct these issues (read about it on Tym’s blog here) Tim finally contacted me and said she was ready to pick up. I was so excited!

To me, this is the holy grail of guitars. It is absolutely my favourite instrument and the pride of my collection. This is partly to do with the awesome design, but also the Australian history behind it along with the rarity. I haven’t seen a sharkbite Fyrbyrd for sale in over 2 years…. so I was very lucky to get this one.

Tim did a fantastic job fixing up this guitar. He mentioned that the trussrod acted like a typical 60’s Maton trussrod… it did nothing! This made his job harder but he persevered and the results speak for themselves. The neck is straight as a rail now, and the action beautifully low. Maton were kind enough to send me a ‘Maton’ trussrod cover which I was missing on my FyrByrd. They really are fantastic people.

I was missing the volume knob, which was a pain as they’re quite different to the modern Maton Mastersound knobs. Then I remembered that I had a bag of Maton parts from the Flamingo that I’d bought. As the Flamingo was going to be hotrodded slightly, I didn’t need the metal Maton knobs it came with. They suit the Fyrbyrd perfectly and add that extra bit of shiny steel.

A rare feature on my FyrByrd are the toggle switches. I’ve only seen 3 FyrByrds with these… one belonging to Brad Shepherd from the Hoodoo Gurus. They are ridiculous and totally impractical… you can’t strum too wildly or your hand smacks into them. And the funniest thing is that the Bigsby arm doesn’t reach over the top! So good luck if you need to use the tremolo… it takes a fair bit of co-ordination to navigate around everything to get that wobble stick working.

Tim mentioned a friend of his said these switches are very similar to the dashboard switches off a 60’s Triumph. I didn’t believe him until I found this on a Triumph motorsport website. That’s pretty damn close.

I was contemplating changing the switches to something more practical, but as this guitar is so rare, I didn’t want to screw around with it too much. Plus, from the rumours I’ve heard… next year it’s going to get a lot easier to buy a sharkbite FyrByrd… isn’t it Maton?! *nudge nudge, wink wink*

Speaking of rarity, I was convinced that the tuners would have to be replaced as three of them were bent and missing parts. Tim apainstakingly crafted replacements from an old inline set he had in the shop. He did a fantastic job… I can’t tell which ones are the new ones. Tim is an absolute master.

So, how does she play? Well, due to the switches, the playing area is comprimised a little. But the action is sweet and the neck shape is typical 60’s Maton. The pickups are pretty raucous, perfect for a garage band (which is what I’ll be playing this guitar in.)

And best of all, she’s the perfect partner to my T-Byrd Bass…

To make it even cooler, I found an authentic 60’s guitar strap in the back of an old amp I bought. It suits her perfectly.

Is there a cooler guitar out there? I don’t think so…

Oh, and for reference, this is sort of what my guitar would’ve looked like new… it’s absolutely amazing how that arctic white turned so yellow.That’s what 15 years in a chook shed does…

By the way… this photo is from Grouse Guitars… an amazing site for vintage Matons. This guitar is actually my old Fyrbyrd, which I sold a few years ago. I couldn’t handle that it had been resprayed. It felt liked it’s mojo had been ruined. I like my Maton’s crusty.

Here is some classic Australian 60’s garage punk with the Black Diamonds, featuring their twin sharkbite Fyrbyrds.


And here’s me playing my FyrByrd at her debut gig with my band, the Horrortones!